See the books that won our annual She Reads Awards for the Best Historical Fiction Books.
From Kristin Hannah to Ken Follett and everyone in between, historical fiction has found its way into the hearts of readers everywhere. If you’re one of these historical fiction fanatics, here are the latest books we think should be at the top of your reading list.
A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers
Sixteen-year-old witch Juliet LaCompte’s life is forever changed when her mother casts a spell on her and the married man she’s began an affair with, dooming them to spend eternity together. But after dying and being re-born multiple times, things begin to change when Juliet begins her next phase of life in present-day Washington D.C.. Developing her own magic, she realizes how powerful she really is – maybe even powerful enough to break the spell cast upon her for good.
Sarah’s War by Eugenia Lovett West
In this Revolutionary War historical fiction novel, one woman is on a mission to create a better country for herself and everyone living in it. It’s 1777 and Sarah has just been sent to Philadelphia to live with her aunt. Realizing the tension all around her, she begins to spy on British officers and even travels to Valley Forge when she hears about plans to assassinate George Washington. If you love strong female leads in historical fiction novels, Sarah’s War will be right up your alley.
The River Widow by Ann Howard Creel
This thrilling new historical fiction novel from Ann Howard Creel follows fearless woman Adah who accidentally murders her abusive husband. Having pulled her life together after the unprecedented incident, Adah will find herself running away from her in-laws, who demand revenge, taking her stepdaughter with her. Will the two make it out of their town unharmed or will a new man have Adah risking it all in the hopes of getting another shot at love?
The Lightkeeper’s Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol
Elizabeth is living in a retirement home, losing her eyesight and finding it hard to look at life through a joyful lens. When her late father’s diary is found, she enlists the help of directionless teen Morgan who’s doing community service at the home. As the two dig deeper into the life of Elizabeth’s father, they come to find shocking truths about who they are and how they’re really connected.
The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams
In 1951 Miranda Schuyler is adjusting to life in Winthrop Island after the loss of her father and the upcoming marriage between her mother and Hugh Fischer. But just as Miranda begins to fit in, she gets caught up in a whirlwind of secrets that will draw her away from the island for almost 20 years. Now returning to the forbidden place in 1969, Miranda is on a quest to find out what really happened to her late stepfather, even if it means taking the entire town down.
The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall
Susie Orman Schnall’s latest novel spans seven decades as two women try to discover who they are. In 1949, Charlotte has just been forced into the family business instead of following her dreams of working in advertising. In an act of defiance and in search of herself, she quickly joins the Miss Subways pageant, finding friendship and heartbreak along the way. Almost 70 years later, Olivia finds herself pitching a last-ditch campaign based on the same Miss Subways campaign to save her job. By the end of the novel, both women find that the pageant would be worth more to them than they had ever expected.
Varina by Charles Frazier
Varina Howell is still just a teen when she gets engaged to the much older politician Jefferson Davis. As he becomes the president of the Confederacy, Varina finds herself in the middle of a battle she doesn’t want to be involved in. As her marriage falls apart and the country becomes a nightmare, she takes her children and heads south, evading those who are after her for being a “fugitive.”
Trouble the Water by Jacqueline Friedland
Jacqueline Friedland’s debut novel takes readers back to the Civil War as Abigail Milton is sent to live in America with a generous family friend. Upon arrival, Abigail finds it hard to connect with Douglas Elling but after finding out about his plans to save a local slave, they begin a friendship based on this new quest for freedom.
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
Traditional parents Rafiq and Layla will finally have their entire family back under one roof for the wedding of their eldest daughter. But the family has grown apart and now that they’re together, they’ll begin to realize that their family secrets were better left undisturbed. This book shows the family at their very beginning bringing up old traditions and promises of family heritage.
Beautiful Illusion by Christie Nelson
Beautiful Illusion takes readers back to the days of Treasure Island at the Golden Gate International Exposition. Eager reporter Lily Nordby jumps at the first opportunity to attend the prestigious event, running into trouble along the way. Making friends and enemies during her time at the Exposition, she’ll uncover secrets about the mysterious place.
Love and Ruin by Paula McLain
It’s the late 1930s and Martha Gellhorn is on her way to report on the terrifying Spanish Civil War. She falls in love with up and coming writer, Ernest Hemingway, and the two begin a whirlwind romance. But after Hemingway reaches a new level of fame, Martha will have to make a big decision: live in his shadow or make a successful life for herself.
A Veil Removed by Michelle Cox
While on their honeymoon, Henrietta and Clive are shocked to hear that Clive’s father has passed away. Returning home, Clive realizes the suspicious circumstances around his father’s death forcing him and his wife into a long and dangerous investigation to get to the bottom of what really happened. Meanwhile, Henrietta’s sister has just begun taking classes at a woman’s college where she’ll meet a man who will change the way she thinks and the way she looks at life.
The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick
Adelaide Blake has just escaped the sanitarium she was forced to live in and is desperately seeking a new life. When she finds work at a herbal tea shop in Burning Cove, California, she meets a man who is hiding secrets of his own. When the two discover that a mutual acquaintance has died, they take it upon themselves to figure out what really happened to the psychic woman.